A side bonus of going to a foreign country like Japan to take a deposition is the opportunity to explore and experience new cultures and local entertainment. Having a local tour guide at your service from an on-the-ground Planet Depos team provides a whole new set of options.
Recently we took an adventure with a client into Ohatsutenjin-dori Shoutengai. A mouthful for sure, but also an exciting nightlife section of Osaka, Japan. We just call it Tenjindori for short.
Our new friend had been to Osaka before but had been unable to spend any time exploring on his previous trip and wanted to see what a typical night is like for people in our city. We all met at his hotel and soon we were off to Tenjindori for some culture, both old and new.
The Tsuyuno Tenjinsha shrine is a large area right at the south end of the market and our first stop. If you are looking for spirituality, there are many shrines located in this space, and you can see people praying at each for different purposes. If you are looking for beauty, the area is a fantastic representation of Buddhist religious architecture. And if you are looking for drama, it’s got that too.
This shrine is the site of the famous “Sonezaki Shinju,” a lovers double suicide that occurred at the shrine in 1703 and was subsequently immortalized in a play that has been performed in Japan ever since. You can read the story of Ohatsu, the heroine and namesake of the shrine, and her lover Tokubei and see their faces throughout the entire market area. Think Romeo and Juliet sort of stuff here.
We were on the lookout for an izakaya, a type of pub/restaurant/after-work gathering place, and when the one we initially considered looked virtually empty, we had to improvise in order to find a good Osaka nightlife experience for our guest. That’s when we passed a dark, tight alley with a lone sign at the far end. Our first introduction to “SnackDonkey.”
We slowly made our way down the alley, not even sure what a SnackDonkey was, much less if it was what we were actually looking for. We peered through the window to see a small bar with maybe twelve seats, filled to capacity, with a boisterous collection of after-work relaxation seekers laughing and singing on a karaoke machine that looked like it could have been from the 1980s. I’m not entirely positive that they weren’t swapping VHS tapes between songs.
Before we had a chance to decide whether this was a good idea or not, the door flung open. The bar erupted in excitement at the sight of foreigners, and we were ushered in. Seats were cleared and drinks were placed in front of us. We spent our time applauding the singers, chatting with the folks around us in our slowly improving Japanese, and hearing stories from the owner about the naming of the bar (a combination of random words pulled from a dictionary and a regular who worked as a “dock donkey” down in the shipyards.
One of us was wearing a jersey from the local team, the Hanshin Tigers, and before we knew it a slew of Tigers paraphernalia appeared, including mascot dolls, pennants, and pins. We got pictures with some very excited Tigers fans.
The bar slowly wound down over the evening, and we decided to call it a night, our adventure a success. Our client happily reported that he saw more of Japan in one night than he had in the week he had been here previously.
Japan is full of amazing experiences, so be sure to ask for tips from the locals that live right in the countries that you’ll be visiting!